Sandvik begins trials at Sunrise Dam with largest battery-electric underground mining truck

press release

October 13, 2023

A three-party agreement between AngloGold Ashanti, Barminco and Sandvik has resulted in Australia being the testing ground for the Sandvik TH665B, the largest battery-electric underground mining truck.

Western Australia’s Sunrise Dam mine is hosting the world-first trial as the Sandvik TH665B is put to work in Australian conditions.

Under an agreement between mine owner AngloGold Ashanti, hard rock underground contract miner Barminco and Sandvik, the gold operation near Laverton began trialing the prototype 65-metric-ton Sandvik vehicle in September. As well as producing zero diesel emissions underground and generating 80 percent less heat, the Sandvik TH665B is expected to be up to 25 percent faster on a 1:7 ramp than regular diesel trucks.

“As a business we are focused on how we can support our clients to decarbonize their mines and trialling equipment to support this is a critical part of our strategy,” said Darren Kwok, head of Electrification and Technology for Barminco’s parent company Perenti.

“Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) not only have the potential to lower carbon emissions, they can also improve the underground environment for mine workers and boost the efficiency of operations. We’re extremely pleased that the first Sandvik TH665B to be built has come to Sunrise Dam for real world trials with us and AngloGold Ashanti. With the longer haul ramps and the harsh Australian operating conditions, it will be put to the test.”

Andrew Dawson, Business Line Manager for Load and Haul at Sandvik, added, “We’re delighted to be working with AngloGold Ashanti and Barminco on these trials. The data that we gain from seeing the prototype interacting with Australian conditions will be invaluable as Sandvik continues to develop its battery-electric range and as the Sandvik TH665B moves into commercial production phase.”

Lithium-Iron Phosphate battery
Developed on the back of more than 40 years of electrification experience, the Sandvik TH665B uses lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP) battery technology. The electric driveline delivers 630 kW (858 hp) of continuous power, allowing for high acceleration and shorter cycle times. It produces zero diesel emissions underground and significantly less heat than a comparable conventional truck.

Sandvik will have four local technicians on site who will support the machine throughout the trial and will provide operator and maintenance training to the teams on site.

Kwok said Barminco’s parent company, Perenti, is working in collaboration with a number of partners towards a fully electrified, zero CO2 and zero diesel particulate mine.

“We believe BEVs like this one have a critical role to play in the electric mines of the future and supporting decarbonization,” he said. “In this trial, two areas we will be monitoring closely are the ramp speed and the contribution to emissions reduction. Sandvik has said that a fully loaded Sandvik TH665B will be up to 25 percent faster on a 1:7 ramp than a conventional diesel truck - so we will be keen to see that in action.”

Battery self-swapping
Dawson said another key feature of the Sandvik TH665B is battery self-swapping. “It is equipped with AutoSwap, our patented self-swapping system which makes the battery changing process extremely fast and easy, usually taking only three minutes,” he said. “It also allows the operator to stay in the cabin during the process, and there’s no need for major infrastructure like overhead cranes.”

About Sunrise Dam
AngloGold Ashanti’s Sunrise Dam gold mine is located 220 kilometers northeast of Kalgoorlie and 55 kilometers south of Laverton in Western Australia. Underground mining is carried out by Barminco under an alliance contract and is the primary source of ore following the cessation of mining in the open pit in 2014. The underground mine produces approximately 2.7 million metric tons of ore annually, which is supplemented by low-grade stockpiles generated during open cut mining to fill the processing plant.

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Photo courtesy of Sandvik.


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